Mark Davis disrespects Antonio Pierce by not removing the interim tag -LSB

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It wasn’t going to happen Kellen Moore, Ben Johnson or Mike McDonald. But for “some strange reason” Antonio Pierce has to deal with it.

When the Las Vegas Raiders went into Arrowhead Stadium on Monday and upset Kansas City 20-14, it wasn’t just more proof that the absence of Eric Bieniemy and Tyreek Hill is changing the way we look at the Chiefs didn’t, it also served as the latest example of why the interim label shouldn’t be attached to Pierce’s name.

“All work by those guys, our staff, [defensive coordinator] Patrick Graham … it’s tough,” Pierce said, getting emotional after the game.

“This is what we wanted. We said enough is enough. It was supposed to take 60 minutes and it did. Hell of a job by our offense to get it done.”

On a day when the NFL proved it can wrest Christmas away from the NBA, Baltimore’s 33-19 road win over San Francisco may be the focus of many, as Lamar Jackson used the postgame press conference to highlight the “disrespect” he and his team settled before the game. However, the real disrespect of the last few weeks has come from Raiders owner Mark Davis, as he has yet to announce Pierce as Las Vegas’ permanent head coach.

Since Pierce took over when Josh McDaniels was fired, the Raiders have gone 4-3, beat the Chargers and Chiefs, and are not completely out of the playoff picture at 7-8. Monday’s win was also the Raiders’ first over Kansas City since 2020, and only their second time beating Patrick Mahomes.

The real reason Davis’ lack of action is so disrespectful to Pierce is because far too often it’s another example of how racism works in the NFL, especially when it comes to Black coaches.

History – and owners – was not kind to black men who wear the in-between label. Between 2010 and last fall, there were 14 times a white coach served under the interim label. In that same time frame, there was never a time when a Black interim coach was replaced by another Black coach. Leslie Frazier (2010) and Romeo Crennel (2011) are among the few exceptions in league history in which a Black interim coach was promoted.

It’s like Mark Davis doesn’t want to learn from Dave Tepper’s mistake.

“I’ve had a conversation with Steve (Wilks), no promises have been made, but if he’s doing an incredible job, he should consider,” Panthers owner Dave Tepper last said October when Wilks was announced as Carolina’s interim coach. Tepper chose Frank Reich over retaining Wilks – a decision contrary to what the players wanted. Tepper fired Reich (1-10) last month, the Panthers are atrocious, and Wilks is justified as he serves as the 49ers defensive coordinator.

With games remaining against the Colts and Broncos – two teams also still fighting to make the postseason – the Raiders could make things interesting if they win. But even if they don’t, Antonio Pierce has already shown why he should be the next full-time Black head coach in the NFL, as we’re forced to look — once again — at the obstacles Black coaches have to deal with.

“I feel like the No. 1 thing I can say about him is he’s just straight,” Raiders defensive end. Maxx Crosby said about Pierce last month. “He’s straight about everything, he’s going to give you the truth. Sometimes you don’t want to hear it, but you’d rather have it than someone who is a sugar coat cat. A guy like AP, you have to respect that because he’s been a player, he’s been in our shoes, he’s been on the other side – he’s coached – and he’s seen it all. A guy like that who can walk in front of the room and demand respect, it makes everybody a little more dialed in, a little nervous — like, I have to be on point, but at the same time, you want to play for someone like that because you know he has your back.”

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